The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have published new guidance for midwives on supporting pregnant women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The guidance was launched at Ingleside Birth Centre in Salford by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.
The new guidance will help midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) better spot the signs of homelessness and pregnant women who could be at risk of becoming homeless.
The guidance recommends midwives to ask women about their housing situation, if they feel a woman is at risk, at least four times at certain points in their pregnancy – first appointment with the midwife, at 28 weeks, at 36 weeks and on discharge after birth.
Commenting on the new guidance, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCM, Gill Walton, said: “We have got to do what we can to help and support those most vulnerable in our society. We know that vulnerable women such as this can experience more problems in their pregnancy and that this can have an adverse effect on their baby also.
“This is why I’m so delighted that the RCM has published this guidance for midwives and MSWs so that they can support and help these women.”
The guidance has been published following the Homelessness Reduction Act in England which came into effect April 3 2018.
The act outlines preventions of homelessness by offering early support to those at risk.
It also places new duties on health services, including maternity units, to help those at risk of homelessness.
Head of Midwifery for Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Val Clare, said: “As midwives we have a unique relationship with the women in our care, and I’m proud to be part of the first professional body in the NHS to put guidance in place as to how we support women when they are at their most vulnerable.”
The guidance is available to view on the RCM website here. Scroll down the RCM homepage to view the latest publications.
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